Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The happiest people are the saddest

I'm reading all the wonderful things people have to say about Robbin Williams. He sounds like he was a very good man. 

I wonder. 

It reminds me of a book I read a while ago. The sense of an ending. There was a very good note left by a character that chose to end his own life. The book dealt with philosophical suicide, which has been something that has fascinated me, ever since reading excerpts from Albert Camus in Myths of Sisyphus which argued against suicide as a way of rejecting freedom and life. 

With all the sadness in the world,  I feel like I am leaning more towards the thoughts shared in sense of an ending...wonder how any of us choose to go on sometimes.

We are all touched by it, this sadness that goes around all the time, the pain - some way or the other. At one point or another. I remind myself the trick is to really focus on a Pollyanna sort of theory, looking past the negativity. Beyond it. In spite of all the bad things in the world. Despite the horrors that lurk in the shadows and darkness of it all.

Resilience. 

This is what comes to mind when I think of mankind living through every day,  a mere sixty seventy years of existence. A mere speck in the timeline of the universe. Insignificant. Given this fact,  I realize the only impact we really can have is upon each other. Benefit the human race. In whatever capacity we can,  and if we can look within ourselves and give our existence meaning, then that is all that matters. Who is to judge one person's life mattered over another. Try hard to let go. Let be. Live and let live sort of thing.

It seems like, in the time Robbin Williams lived,  he made an impact. Touched the hearts of his fellow human beings. And then, he chose to leave. It is what it is, nothing more. Or less.

That to me, is a life well lived. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Travelling to Jaffna: Bus Eke

I was reading a blog post I came across, about discrimination against Tamils at the Omanthai check point.

It reminded me of my own experience travelling to Jaffna on the bus.

I was asleep. Woken up as the bus slowed down. I have an NIC card. I don't know what I look like. Or sound like. Especially around 2am, groggy and tired.

I get down from the bus and people are asked to go through the check point.  A farce of a check really, just carry your stuff and go through the line up. Like a military ruling state, which is, I remind myself, what we are. How sheltered we live in our little bubbles. How it must feel like to actually be a Tamil speaking person, and be looked upon suspiciously.

I was sleepy. I am walking through the line. Three women, huddled together. In Army uniform.

I hand over my id. They open my hand bag and start looking inside. They look over my id. Ask me a question. I forget what it was. I believe, something to the effect of "ah oya sinhalada" and astonishment and giggle almost. I am too tired and sleepy to comprehend. One nudges the other and says "meya sinhala." I am a sinhalese. It says so on my NIC. "Ah hari hari, yanna." They don't even bother with my bag after that. Free to go on account of being a the majority type. As if there were no accounts of the sinhala terrorists who helped the LTTE. How funny.

I am dazed.

I will let you do the commentary. True story. One of I wonder how so many. How ashamed I felt because I know the people behind me heard. How awful it must be, to be treated second class citizens by a bunch of very badly trained security personnel. How I shudder to think how professional these army women were. Imagine these people on a battle field. With guns. In uniform.

No, post war Sri Lanka is beautiful and we are truly the tear drop of the indian ocean.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ciabatta Bread - Homemade

I really am thankful to the internet. How easy it is to find any recipe at a whim,  no matter what ingredients one is stuck with at home and play around with wondrous creations. 

To learn from strangers in different places, sharing their own experiences and tweaks to recipes. 

A wonderful collection of human beings connected together. 

Here I am,  moving it forward. Thanking the kind souls that share their own adventures in the kitchen and inspire us to create our own. 

A kitchen aid is by the way, a wonder gift to receive. Perhaps a bit over the top for a novice in the kitchen. 

But still. Much appreciated. Heartfelt love. xoxox

I found the Ciabatta Bread recipe here. 

Basically, cut and pasted from the site above: 

Kitchenaid in the shadows
Place ingredients into the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle, and Start. (See Editor's Note for stand mixer instructions.)

  1. Dough will be quite sticky and wet once cycle is completed; resist the temptation to add more flour. Place dough on a generously floured board, cover with a large bowl or greased plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.
  2. Lightly flour baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Using a serrated knife, divide dough into 2 pieces, and form each into a 3x14-inch oval. Place loaves on prepared sheets and dust lightly with flour. Cover, and let rise in a draft-free place for approximately 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  4. After 45 mins
  5. Spritz loaves with water. Place loaves in the oven, positioned on the middle rack. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
  • Prep 30 mins
  • COOK25 mins
  • READY IN1 hr55 mins





Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Funerals for Suicides


There has been an alarming wave of suicides reported in the media recently. I wonder if these reports further fuel the culture where ending one's life is the natural outcome of ones personal anguish. Who knows what the troubled mind endures before it reaches the conclusion life is not worth living.  

It reminds me of the times when suicide touched my little bubble of existence. It is,  unsettlingly all too common. This post is not however on what leads to suicide  (The Sense of an Ending,  the book, had a very engaging discussion on it). I do not know enough to comment on these things. 

I've been thinking about the response to funerals of suicides though. People's reaction, how it differs from the usual funeral of any other type of death. How the family of the death by suicide person is shunned. Seemingly close friends sit in judgement of the dead,  as they most likely did, when they were alive. People hesitate to attend these funerals. I suppose for various reasons that harbour on superstition,  judgement and fear of the unknown. 

I truly believe though,  funerals are for the living. For those who suffer immense suffering and anguish at the death of a loved one. A sense of betrayal and loss. A loss they must live with for the rest of their lives. Who are we to abandon them in that time of immense grief over something they did not have any control over. Of course people know exactly what should've been done. Only Ifs floating around freely in hushed conversations. 

Perhaps in these moments if we can demonstrate love, kindness and compassion,  if not to the dead,  for the living. Show they were loved when they were alive,  that they will be missed. And the family left behind,  they are not alone. And these things, there is no one to blame but deep rooted issues that will not be solved so easily. But they are not alone.

Some small comfort,  perhaps. Compassion and love is the role of the bystander in these times,  and not gossip and judgement. 

Ten years later,  I remember a certain happy go lucky,  cheerful girl who died in the ICU, of unexplained burns. Our bodhi poojas,  more for the living grieving parents, than for the dead. A funeral we laid flowers to rest, with as much care as we had done together in all those school functions. To have been there for the mother that wrote a heart wrenching poem that begged her to be reborn as her daughter in every lifetime to come,  and no other mother to feel the pain she feels. Small comfort for her perhaps, but not alone. Never alone. 

Funerals are for the living,  the dead are long gone. The dead do not need us, they are free. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Pickle

What do you do when childhood dreams are now coming true. Then,  you realise life is bigger.
While getting what you'd like to have is a nice validation and confirmation of certain insecurities of self worth,  common sense and reality taps me on the shoulder,  matter of factly. It's the reminder to take a step back and see the big picture.
It's nice to be certain the big picture is exactly what it is. The pieces,  they make sense and the open road still offers limitless possibilities.
Cheers to the bumps in the road,  and the road that doesn't seem to end at all. Thankful and partly wary of these choices.
Silent thanks to all the gods that might be and the family that supports,  unconditionally.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Road.

We're all travelling to and from things all the time.

I suppose in a way, we're all time travelers. Memories are what take us back and forth.

The good,  the bad and the ugly,  if you will.

I have a lot of little adventures I want to share as posts and will try to do that in the next few days. The important thing is to keep sharing something,  and I am trying to be a regular here.  Keep a journal of my life in an abstract sense.

This space has been good to me, over the years.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mocha Cup Reflections

I stare deeply in to the premonition like reflection in my Thursday morning coffee/chocolate mocha and pretend it is really tea. I am aware, almost guiltily how impatiently I anticipate Fridays. Too eager to welcome the weekend.

Probably why I am always disappointed when the weekend ends, and it was full of chores and empty nothingness. Oh well, need to have a talk with myself about low expectations. 

Sri Lanka is winning the match - lots of rathinchchnya tonight.

Coffee creamer,  between you and me tastes like crap. Nothing like some good old kiri piti. Maybe it's healthier. Who knows, inevitable old age and time will eventually be the judge. I hope either way,  70 year old me doesn't feel too bad when I'm taking all those pills.

My black and white stray cat is happily feeding away. He seems to enjoy tuna the most. I call him he but he could very well be a she for all I care. Maybe I should call him/her IT instead. A smart one, that.

I forget what this post was going to be about. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Case of the Lunu Kenda

The Mister has been sick. 

It started with a text message lamenting the fact he was slowly dying. Then as the day increased his lamentations of impending doom grew and I ended up going home early just to spend a few hours more attending to him.

It is curious how the common cold affects us all in different ways. Dare I say,  it is a well known fact the common cold affects each particular gender even differently. Our male counterparts feel the wrath of the angry cold,  debilitating any normal functions and leaving them helpless and almost childlike. However the female individual,  struck by the same bug will be able to withstand the worst and continue along their daily routine simply because if they do not cook,  no one will. I had firmly resolved to ensure this phenomenon truly ended with the generation of our parents.

And yet,  I find my stone cold heat melting at the sight of the individual with a fever pitifully lying on the bed after requesting very spicy chips (claiming to be the only food he can consume and contemplating throwing up). 

So ensues my Wednesday evening after work,  multiple grocery shopping,  and hours of checking the stove for the first attempt at a lunu kenda. The recipe I checked did not state there was a portion of salt,  which I assumed to naturally mean the portion was irrelevant. Lunu kenda. Hello! So of course after hours and hours of worrying the new brown rice was a flop,  the kenda almost turned out. Except for one tiny flaw. The lunu tasted like sea water salt kenda.

Just goes to show, there is, I'm sure something greatly significant in this - to our lives and an even greater lesson to be learned. Years from now,  I'm sure I'll figure out what exactly that is. Until then,  I for one have resolved to definitely go easy on the salt.

Friday, February 28, 2014

End of Feb, 2014

Well it's been a pretty good month,  folks. The second month of 2014 already gone by.

Eyes and arms wide open for March.

Need to prioritise and be more productive next month. Time is too short.

Let's do it!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Meatballs - Home Made

This is a customized version of a recipe originally discovered in a kids cook book in my childhood. Since then, I've been able to experiment with various ingredients and this is one variation of the home made meatballs and really is quite yummy. I urge you to give it a shot, really it's so very easy. 

For the meatballs, you will need -

Minced chicken or beef (meat of your choice, i've used sausages minced as a kid)
Slices of bread cut in to tiny pieces
Milk (1/4 cup) or as needed
Olive oil as needed (vegetable is fine too)
A bit of curry powder
Chillie powder
Salt
Pepper
Onions chopped
Mix in a bowl and roll in to a dozen or so small balls,  similar to when we make cutlets.

Fry them in low heat till they seem crispy and well cooked.


Pasta sauce and spaghetti

Mix with tomatoe puree/ tomatoes blended/ pasta sauce if you have it - in a seperate pan,  add necessary spices and let it simmer until the sauce gets thick. I added mushrooms, curry leaves, parsley too. Don't forget to add finely chopped garlic in to the sauce. Adds flavour.
 Add the meatballs that were frying in to the sauce and let it simmer until sauce thickens.


Boil and prepare the spaghetti separately. Strain. 


Add some parmesan or mozzarella cheese on to the plate after serving.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Home made Kottu

It's been a while since I last made kottu. It only takes a few ingredients. Quite messy though. 

You can even make elawalu rotti, if you're in the mood by following the instructions here.


Basically, you start with making the godamba rotti, and then cutting it in to pieces
Stir fry ingredients as you please - I used chicken, eggs,carrot, onion leaves and onions and chopped carrots
Mix everything together. Voila! 
Just like that, you have your own home made kottu rotti. Find a previous kottu post here as well

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Loop.

She doesn't care for appearances, having just woken up from her sleep. Dazed. Confused by reality when it sunk in, different from her emotions a few seconds ago in her dream.

She switches the computer on, trembling. Dialing a number she had been told not to call anymore.

"Hello." Cold, nothing there. 

"Are we done?"

.."yes." 

"But we kissed in my dream and it was real" (Tell me you don't love me to my face, you coward.)

Silence. So that's it. Months of anguish and naivety, years of friendship and trust.  

She plays the same hindi song over and over and over again, letting the tears, finally flow freely down her face. She hates hindi movies, especially the one this one is from, after she finds out the plot. She has no clue what those words are saying. Not that she cares, for someone who is big on lyrics and meaning. Over and over and over again, on a loop. 

Years later, she still can't listen to that song. 

Fast forward to the present. She is surprised to find out the incomprehensible words of the song are saying "love will find a way." Haha. How silly. She wonders what her past self would say, if she had ever known.

She wants her to know, she hasn't forgotten. Only hopes she can find it in her heart to forgive her. The love she felt, she wants her to know was true. And if it means anything, she was always right.

The dream? So many years later, (then a pathetic, desperate memory) still real.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sri Lankan Literacy Rate

A simple Google search yields:
"Sri Lanka's population has a literacy rate of 92%, higher than that expected for a third world country; it has the highest literacy rate in South Asia and overall, one of the highest literacy rates in Asia."
Sri Lankans have been proud of this statistic for as long as I can remember. I was reading this article that quotes James Baldwin as having said:
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me the most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
How true. Reading, to me as opened up a link to an outside world I would not have otherwise known or seen. But most importantly felt. It has given me an avenue to feel empathy, learn about human emotion and character. I dare even hope, helped build my own character. Ultimately helped face my own torments in life and emerge stronger.

The article really got my thinking about something that has been nagging at me for a while now. How many people do we know who proudly proclaim they do not have time to read. "I do not read" they say, "I am too busy." This makes me cringe. Smile politely. Sympathetically. It makes me upset our future generations are losing out on the beautiful literature, regardless of which language, which culture, which time period they belong to if our adults are taking this attitude. How do we have a population that boasts of 92% literacy rate and refuses to learn anything. Read a newspaper, at least.

What can we do? Push more for library use? Buy books for kids, encourage reading among our peers? Read more ourselves. I try to set myself reading goals, for weeks, months - the year. Share books we've read. In this day and age where reading material is plenty abound, why do we hide behind the "busy" excuse. It comes down to managing our time, and a real thirst for knowledge. It would mean less susceptibility to the unspeakable horrors of our times, openness and acceptance of diversity and differences.

It would make us better voters, and ultimately make us demand more substance from the very people who rule us. Blatant abuse could not be so widespread if we as a nation could be more aware. More literate, not because we can all read and write, but because we read thoughts and understand meanings. Think over ideas. Consider our own views and respect someone else for theirs.

"But reading texts is not the same as reading a text.
There is no intellectual equivalent to allowing oneself the time and space to get lost in another person’s mind, because in so doing we find ourselves."